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Vintage and classic number plates

Front number plates on bikes

Modern bikes do not have front number plates. In fact motorbikes registered after 1 September 2001 must only display rear number plates. Motorcycles built before then can display front number plates, but do not have to.

A number of classic bikes did have a front number plate arranged along the top of the front mudguard – laid out in a way that cuts pedestrians in half. Although this would be illegal on anything modern, this is completely fine if it is the original spec of the bike.

Vintage style plates

Vintage vehicles will have various forms in which their registration number is displayed. A number of classic vehicles have rather lovely black metal plates with the registration number in bare metal. This is fine for those cars early enough to get this as standard. It is however illegal to retrofit these style plate on more modern classics.

As a general rule, only vehicles made before 1 January 1973 may display these classic style plates.

Sticker number plates

Some classic cars, especially those that have been involved in motorsport, have their registration numbers as stickers directly applied to the paintwork. Although this can be contentious this is generally accepted for those cars that had this from new, such as a number of Jaguar E-types for example. However, this is not something that you can generally retrofit onto your classic car – despite it being unlikely to be picked up as an issue on any pre 1973 vehicle.


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